The Five-Carat Commute

On the first day of my new job in Salem, Oregon yesterday, I left my house in Portland before 6 a.m. and got home about 6:4o p.m. I spent three hours and forty minutes total on the commute, including walking to and from the Capitol Mall to my building.

Ye gads. To think that millions of people around the world do this for decades of their lives in order to earn a living and provide for their families. I respect the patience and tenacity this kind of commuting takes (I have usually taken the bus downtown or worked from home).

So why is mine the five-carat commute? My five carpool partners, who keep me from doing the long drive by myself, save me money and reduce my carbon footprint. (Well, I’ve met two of them so far, since not everyone goes to Salem daily.) They are friendly and fun and make the drive go by quickly. I alternate between conversation, reading and working on my laptop. My quality of life gets to remain high due to my carpool.

To find out how much money you could save by carpooling or using other travel options use this commute calculator. Note: I found my carpool through Carpool Match Northwest.

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2 Responses to “The Five-Carat Commute”


  1. 1 Colleen February 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Carpools have a special place in my heart. In the early 1970s, my mother commuted by carpool between Seattle and Everett, Washington, where she worked as a secretary at the Boeing Co. She was newly married to a Boeing engineer (who worked at a different Boeing facility) and shared the carpool with a fun group of engineers – with whom she became friends. They enlightened her on the “engineer personality” she had just married into. The carpool was also the place where she hand-knit a sweater (she had never knit before) for my dad for Christmas, as a surprise. Her carpool-mates affectionately teased her every time she made a mistake, and teased her about how long it took, but it did get done, back and forth along Interstate 5. My father had no idea she was knitting it. The sweater was my father’s prized possession for more than 30 years, and he wore it proudly. After my father died in 2003, my mother gave me the sweater. I smile every time I wear this “carpool sweater,” knit with love during a Pacific Northwest commute.


  1. 1 Carpool Survivor « Diamond-Cut Life Trackback on April 4, 2008 at 5:22 pm
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